Facebook to show 25 Major League Baseball games this season
10 March, 2018, 01:52 | Author: Luis Fowler
MLB said the games on Facebook Watch will be the league's first digital-only national broadcasts.
The broadcasts will be produced by MLB Network for Facebook but will include social features that are specific to the platform.
"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", said Tony Petitti, deputy commissioner of business and media for Major League Baseball.
The service also plans to once again incorporate Major League Baseball players in its promotional efforts throughout the multi-year deal, which will also include a variety of national TV spots and on-air call-outs during the games, branding across MLB's digital properties and official social media accounts, and in-stadium promotion.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed although sources pegged the price in the $30 million to $35 million range.
"Part of the next great leap, " sports media consultant Lee Berke told Bloomberg.
The games add to Facebook's growing sports lineup.
Most of the Major League Baseball games Facebook will webcast are on Wednesdays, and the package begins April 4 with Phillies vs. Mets. It could also help Facebook users get accustomed to the notion that Facebook is a spot to watch your afternoon baseball games, helping the company build that cachet that would help it negotiate further deals down the line.
Bonus: if the usual Facebook behavior of your weird uncle, your childhood friend and that woman you knew ten years ago, friended on Facebook and then "liked" every comment she made as a means of trying to recapture that time when you should've made your move but were to afraid to do so are any indication, the comments should be entertaining even if the games aren't. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the USA and around the world. For Facebook, however, the rights allow for experimentation with things like social integration and graphics during the broadcast, enhancements popular with younger viewers drawn to digital platforms. Facebook had bid the previous two years.
Facebook offered $600 million for the rights to an Indian cricket league, losing out to Fox, and has been boosting its budget for content, including live sports and original shows.
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